Books: Portrait of a Generation

THE GOLDEN ECHO (272 pp.)—David Garnett—Harcourt, Brace ($4).

Everyone can remember something in his childhood that seems as wacky and improbable as an incident in Alice in Wonderland, but Novelist David Garnett wins hands down with his memories of childhood and youth (the first volume of his autobiography). When he was five, Joseph Conrad took him into the garden and taught him to sail a boat ("the sail was a . . . sheet tied . . . to a clothes prop . . . The green grass heaved in waves . . . our speed was terrific"). Novelist Ford Madox Ford...

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